Inspiration, Creativity and Community at When Words Collide


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Aviva Bel’Harold

A little over a year ago, I wandered into the Chapters store in my neighbourhood.  I was immediately drawn to the vibrant energy of a woman standing by a table, which displayed a number of books.  We exchanged smiles, and she asked if she could tell me about her book.  I though ‘ooooh, an author here in the flesh and blood’!! Of course I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about her and her stories.  I walked away with one of her works, ‘Safe’, which I could not put down once I started reading it!

When I shared with her that I had started to venture into the writing world, she was quick to provide advice and support.  She recommended that I attend When Words Collide, a volunteer driven writing conference.  When I looked it up and read all about it, I could not believe that it was actually a very full three days of non stop sessions for the minimal cost of $55!  Well known and experienced authors would be speaking on all sorts of juicy topics.

I thought to myself, ‘oh my, I think I need to go to this’!  I had no idea what I was really getting into.

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 8.43.06 AMI took full advantage of the wealth of information provided by these wise souls.  I plunged myself into as many sessions as I could take until my head was brimming full of information.  Pieces of data were literally spilling out of me.

It doesn’t stop here!

There was no other way I could have received such amazing information anywhere else for this low cost.  There was no other way I could have gotten it directly from the mouths of these wise souls.  Every single one of these presenters was there to give back.  They were volunteering their time and knowledge for the sake of the written (and spoken) word.  They are all so passionate about their art that they just can’t help themselves.  They have to help others.

It still doesn’t stop here!

The entire weekend happens because of a whole team of volunteers Yes! People who absolutely want to make When Words Collide happen year after year.  These people work tirelessly to plan, co-ordinate, communicate, and prep, prep, prep so that the whole thing can happen.  As an attendee, everything was organized to a tee!  If I had any questions at all, any of the volunteers were extremely happy to help me – even though they had a million things to do.

It still doesn’t stop here!

After the conference, I contacted several of the presenters with many different questions.  These people are busy.  They are deep into their own art.  These artists are the most supportive bunch.  They love to help other writers.  Anytime.  No questions asked.  It is truly because of this community that I was able to self publish and launch my book, well before the next conference.

Wow.  This whole experience left me completely and utterly inspired.

One day, I woke up, grabbed my coffee, and sat down in my office.  I came across a call for presenters for the next When Words Collide.  Something came over me.  It was like I wasn’t really in control.  I had this complete wave of inspiration, and decided that I had to give back!!!  At this point, I had executed the self publishing process.   I had learned so much.  I thought of how I had felt when I first attended When Words Collide.

Something in me took over and it was as if I was looking down at myself from outside of my body!  The next thing you knew, I was prepping an outline for a presentation.  As my finger lingered over the ‘send’ button, my heart pounded, and I realized I was sweating.  I was nervous.  How could I possibly think that I knew enough to present to others?  ‘Wait!’, the voice in my head cried out.  What had I learned?  That this community was very supportive and was all about giving back.  Of course I should submit this! They are smart people.  If they look at this and think, ‘oh my, what is this?’, then they will say ‘Thank you, but no thank you’.

I sit here now, with my tea, enjoying the morning birds singing sweetly, and I am reflecting on the presentation that I gave at When Words Collide, just a few days ago.  It was truly another supportive experience.  I had a decent number of attendees (woo hoo!!!), and the content was well received.  Several people came up to me after to declare how helpful it was to them.  Yes!!!  Now I know I have helped!!

Furthermore, the entire conference has been an absolutely amazing experience once again! I took some more sessions to help me in the phase that I am currently in with my first book.  I also attended some sessions that put me out of my comfort zone, and others that were tantalizing and exciting.  I woke up this morning absolutely itching to write!  This experience has left me once again inspired, motivatedand full to the brim with positive, creative, life giving energy!

I also got to thank, in person, some of the writers that have helped me so much, and reinforce for them what an impact they have had on my path.  I picked up some exciting new books (and had them signed, of course).   And, I met some really cool new people!!!

I now have an amazing collection of SIGNED copies of some awesome works!!!!!

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What an experience!!

Thank you to ALL who help make it happen!

Till next year…


My presenter bio…

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My presentation pitch…

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Find my Presentation Here

When Words Collide 2017



Weight Training with Mikey V

I love the look on my face in this picture.  It really sums up my entire experience when I weight trained ‘for real’.  This wasn’t something I was planning on getting into, and it isn’t something that I have done over the years.  It just happened.  And it was an amazing experience in body, mind and soul.  Really.

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It all started when I needed a place to shower so that I could ride my bike to work.  I found the gym that was closest to my office building, and walked in to inquire about membership.

An unexpected opportunity presented itself.  There was a package that I could buy that included some personal training sessions.  Something inside tugged at me to sign up.  So I did.  I didn’t think about it again until the winter months presented themselves.  I had been working out on my own during lunch hour, and was quickly getting bored.  I was really keen to stay in shape through the winter months so I could enjoy the short cycling season when it finally came again.

Continue reading “Weight Training with Mikey V”

The Bionic Woman Returns – Cinque Terra



We didn’t know it yet, but, we were nearing the end of a several month adventure.  We had left home with hefty backpacks, planning to chase the pro cycling circuit.  We had seen a lot of cycling races, done a lot of our own riding, and had also found many other adventures along the way.  Coming off of the high of accomplishing some big things in my own cycling journey, I think I was in complete belief that I was the bionic woman!!!

Continue reading “The Bionic Woman Returns – Cinque Terra”

Choosing to Face the Impossible

Henry Ford Quote

Henry nailed it on the head.  You can, literally, talk yourself into or out of anything.  It is up to you.  I could not have had any more of a lesson on this than the day that I found myself at the bottom of a famous mountain, broken, terrified, and in tears.

Alpe d’Huez is a very famous mountain that has made many appearances in the Tour de France.  Composed of a series of 21 switchbacks winding their way up from the valley to the peak, this mountain is not something to take lightly.

Alpe d'Huez switchbacks

When I showed up at Alpe d’Huez, I was not an experienced cyclist, I was not an athlete, I was not in the type of physical condition that one should be to ascend such a monstrous beast.

Continue reading “Choosing to Face the Impossible”

Cozy Cool Post Workout Gear

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Post workout, I love to cozy up in something comfortable and warm.  I recently had the opportunity to try out this super cool hoodie from Cycling Ink.  It is definitely warm, and it is definitely cozy.  The inside is super soft.  And for those fellow cyclists out there, the logo is perfect for making sure the world knows that you ride bikes.

If my workout was a good one and I pushed hard, I might need a bit of time to cool down before transitioning to the warmer gear.  If I am smart, I will also take some time to stretch.  For this transition, I would choose something lighter.  I like something with a little room so I can move around and stretch.  Check out this super fun tank, also from Cycling Ink.

Blue T Cropped

Check it out!! With plenty of styles, colors and variations of the logo…there is something for everyone!!!  Tell the world you are a cyclist…make sure they know that you spent hours upon hours training inside on your bike just so you could be super fast when the weather changes!




Mountain Man


I met Vern in an office environment.  We were both in the same role, sat close together, and had the habit of arriving early.  Thus, we quickly got to know a little about each other.

Vern was immediately a very interesting person to me.  It quickly became apparent that he was a ‘no nonsense’, get the job done, kind of guy.  I soon learned that Vern had some very interesting life passions.  One of them being to summit mountains on a regular basis. When I first learned of this, I was instantly fascinated.

I have had the amazing opportunity to summit a variety of peaks on my bike.  Vern was a man who summited monstrous beasts by climbing with his hands and feet.  Continue reading “Mountain Man”

A Blazing Ball of Energy: Amber

Amber (left), Emily (right) – Founders of High

My friend had invited me to join her at an exercise class that she raved about.  It was a choreographed class, which I didn’t often go to, however, she had convinced me that I didn’t need any specific experience.  She also told me I would have fun and I would get in a great workout.  Sounded peachy.  So off we went.

The minute the instructor, Amber, entered the room, the energy level was raised about a million notches!  In she came, or rather, in she bounced, whooping, smiling, and convincing us that yes we can!!!  I thought to myself, wow, this woman is ripped!!  Within seconds I was PUMPED!  I was ready – for what I didn’t know – but I was ready.  Off we went.

Continue reading “A Blazing Ball of Energy: Amber”